2009 South Dakota motorcycle trip
Day 6

June 11

Trivia question: What famous American died 30 years ago today? If you don't know I'll tell you later.

Since we've been here the local people have been commenting on how unseasonably cool and rainy it has been. But they kept saying that it was supposed to clear up by Thursday. Today is Thursday. When I awoke I cautiously peeked outside. Oh...it looks dry! When I got downstairs you could tell there was excitement in the air. Today we will ride!! The Pumpkin will stay parked today. The plan for today is to go to Deadwood and explore, then head to points north. It's still a little chilly but who cares. It's dry. We fired up the bikes and basked in the preglow of our ride. We'll take US385 and avoid the interstate.

At 8:06 we rolled out of the driveway. As we passed the bike shop east of Hill City I made a comment via CB that it wasn't open yet, but got no comment from John. Several miles down US385 we passed a heard of bighorn sheep next to the roadway and I radioed to John again, and again got no answer. I turned the squelch all the way down but couldn't hear any static. That's not good. I switched to the stereo speakers and the static blasted away. Something is wrong with my helmet speakers...but I can hear my stereo through them. Hmmmmm. Hope it's something simple. Mike had electrical problems with his trailer and John's GPS had quit working. Was it my turn for gremlins?

US385 is a nice road to ride. Mostly woodsy at first. As you near the Pactola Reservoir the elevation drops several hundred feet then you ride across the dam. From the dam northward the scenery becomes more hilly and you ride through some canyons. It's really beautiful. The elevation drops again and the roads are pretty twisty as you get into Deadwood. 43 miles and 1:20 hours later we parked in a parking garage a block or so off the main drag. I checked my headset connection and was happy to find I didn't have it plugged in all the way. In another vein of good news, my XM antenna seems to be working fine.

We were a little chilled and someone mentioned hot chocolate. I'm not much of a hot chocolate person but it sounded good. We ducked into the Big Dipper.

The Big Dipper didn't have any restrooms but they directed us into the attached restaurant/bar. While we were in there Mike started playing some slots, then some of the others joined in. I enjoy watching others gamble, although I rarely do it myself. We went back to the coffee shop for warm drinks. I had a big mound of whipped cream on my hot chocolate.

Saloon No. 10...famous for being the saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was shot. Not to be confused with the actual location of the original No. 10 saloon which was destroyed in a large fire in 1879.

We made a lap around the main street checking out the shops. We all seemed to find some things that interested us...and of course, pins! Everyone is checking out the chaps and leather jackets after our cold riding on the way to South Dakota. After a couple hours we started getting hungry. After seeing what was available we decided to eat at the historic No. 10 Saloon. The waitresses were wearing old time saloon dresses which showed off their nice chests. The menu on the table looked a little sparse. The waitress said they just served bar food, and the real restaurant was upstairs. We went upstairs in an elevator to a more 'normal' style restaurant. I had my first buffalo burger which was wonderful. Everyone liked their food and the waitress was entertaining and knowledgeable.

After lunch we went back downstairs via the 'vator. Mike played slots again and I watched some people play blackjack. Soon there was a re-enactment of Wild Bill's final moments in the saloon, along with a history lesson of the area. While we were eating we could tell it was sprinkling outside. During the re-enactment it rained harder. By the time we decided to leave it was still a little misty and sprinkly.

We put on the rain gear and headed to our next destination a mile away. Mt. Moriah Cemetery...aka Boot Hill. Final resting place of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

The $1 entry fee included a large map. It didn't take long to find the graves we were looking for.

Wild Bill Hickok.

Calamity Jane.

We walked around the cemetery for awhile. I got a nice shot of Deadwood from the hill above. We hit the souvenir shop and found some pins and stickers. When we got back to the bikes we saw another Goldwing had parked with us. Don't remember where he was from but it was a pretty bike.

Our plan from here is to work our way north towards Belle Fourche...the geographical center of the nation. We took US85 north to I-90, then headed west to Spearfish. John had mentioned hearing that Spearfish Canyon was a scenic drive. We weren't sure where it was or where it went, but what the hell, we're on vacation. We saw signs for the route (US14A), so we turned south.

During this jaunt my XM antenna took another crap. I repositioned the USB extension connector and it started working again. Hmmmmmmmm.

20 scenic miles later we arrived at the southern terminus of Cheyenne Crossing. There was a nice little store there. We got some pins and stickers and pop...but no gas. It was almost $4/gallon. The ride down was nice. Kind of like riding through the Smoky Mountains but the hills were rocky instead of wooded. The ride was so nice we decided to go backtrack north. This time we pulled over at a few places we had seen on the first trip through.

Spearfish Canyon pics

When we got back to Spearfish we fueled up the bikes. It was getting close to 5:30 so we decided to look for a place for supper.

We stopped at the Cedar House Restaurant. I had liver and mashed potatoes and the food was generally very good. Mmmmmmm.

Bad weather had moved into the area we had just ridden through. We could see an ominous cloud formation in the distance to the south. Where we were at the weather was nice.

We saddled up and rode the 20 miles north on US85 to the Belle Fourche visitor center. The plaque describes the details.

The actual geographical marker is behind the visitor center in a little park-type setting. Here is the center seal of the marker.

We spent about 30 minutes checking things out. By the time we left it was nearly 8 pm. We took I-90 to Rapid City, then south on US16. We stopped in town at a gas station for cigarettes. When we parked I came as close to dropping a bike as I ever have. Where I parked the pavement sloped away and as I let the bike down on the kickstand it kept leaning and leaning before the kickstand finally made contact. I held the bike up as Ashton got off. I knew I wouldn't be able to remount the bike like this so me and the guys pushed it forward to flatter ground. I didn't like that leaning wayyyy over feeling.

It was nice to finally get to ride. There would be no more rain days on the trip...not saying we won't get rained on. Tomorrow is the girls' spa day.

The XM antenna had worked for awhile then quit again. I took my XM antenna and zip-tied it to my brake reservoir and connected it directly to the GPS...eliminating the extension cable. We'll see how that works.

What famous American icon died 30 years ago today?


Pictures from the day.

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